If you’re reading this then you may be asking yourself what the heck does whole food and plant based really mean. Whether you’re new to changing your diet to a healthier one or you’ve been at it for awhile, it’s good to know the direction you’re heading in. We’ve been at this for awhile and have made numerous changes to the way we eat. We started experimenting with meatless meals a few years ago and have since continued to modify it to where we are now: a whole food, plant based diet.
Following a whole food diet involves maximizing your nutrient intake from natural sources and avoiding nutrient-poor processed foods. Whole foods mainly include plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits and nuts, and animal foods such as eggs, meat, fish and poultry.
Really the long and short of this concept is to cut out processed foods. Get rid of the chemicals added to foods and as closely to organic as you can. Obviously this is really hard to accomplish but we do the best we can. You’d really be surprised at how much stuff you can cut out without really trying. Starting with pre-made food is the easiest. No microwave meals! Cook your own food. When you make it, you know what’s going into it. Read your food labels. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients then they are probably chemicals and not great for your body. If you can find foods with less than 4 or 5 ingredients then that’s the best for you. If not then you should at least know what everything is that’s listed. If you don’t, don’t eat it.
Now let’s focus on plant based. This means we don’t eat any animal products. That doesn’t mean we eat nothing but salads and leafy greens. Taken from one of our favorite sites, Forks Over Knives:
A whole-food, plant-based diet is centered on whole, unrefined, or minimally refined plants. It’s a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes; and it excludes or minimizes meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.
We know that’s a mouthful! Rest assured, though, that you’ll be eating in a way that people have thrived on for thousands of years. We believe that you will find—as we do—that the diet and foods are very tasty and satisfying. Following are the food categories from which you’ll eat, along with a few examples from each. These include the ingredients you’ll be using to make familiar dishes, such as pizza, mashed potatoes, lasagna, and burritos:
- Fruit: mangoes, bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, cherries, etc.
- Vegetables: lettuce, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, carrots, etc.
- Tubers and starchy vegetables: potatoes, yams, yucca, winter squash, corn, green peas, etc.
- Whole grains: millet, quinoa, barley, rice, whole wheat, oats, etc.
- Legumes: kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, lima beans, cannellini beans, black beans, etc.
Hopefully this helps answer a few questions you may have right off the bat. Stay tuned for my take on all my favorite meals growing, just with a new twist.